10 Best Sales Books That Help New B2B Sales Reps Win More

It’s never easy to teach sales. The sheer complexity of the field and the tightly intertwined processes make it a daunting task to share knowledge. Thankfully, there are many pearls of wisdom scattered here and there, left by many successful salespeople across the globe. And all those tiny bits of knowledge have been compiled in the form of several best-selling books on sales. 

In this post, let’s look at 10 best sales books that will help reps win more. 

10 Best Sales Books for B2B Sales Reps to Win More!

#1 Way of the Wolf – Jordan Belfort

Authored by Jordan Belfort, the Way of Wolf is rightly considered the ‘Bible of Sales’. In this book, the author has covered the art of persuasion and the steps to convince prospects to purchase from you. He has talked about a very important aspect of selling – how to strike an effective conversation with your prospects. 

Key Takeaways from the book:

  • A perfect sale is only made when it is presented neatly to the customers. It is important to pitch your product subtly yet powerfully. 
  • A sale can be made only when the rep has an emotional connect with the prospect. 
  • The way you communicate with the prospects dictates how the prospects perceive you. And it’s not limited to the first 5 seconds but to the entire conversation.

Favorite quote from the book:

“You do not want to try to resolve their pain at this point. In fact, if anything, you want to amplify that pain.” 

Fun fact: This book was immortalized by the popular movie “Wolf of the Wall Street” starring Leanardo Decaprio.

#2 Sell or be sold – Grant Cardone

A must-read for all sales folks, this book is a warehouse of sales tricks and is one of the best sales books. The author has highlighted the importance of being careful and proactive when it comes to selling a product or service. The author himself is a notable sales trainer, and this book is a summary of all his personal experiences. 

Key Takeaways:

  • You must be 100% sold on your product. When you yourself are not convinced about the value of the product, you cannot convince others. 
  • Price is never a concern for your buyers. Similarly, a dull economy can never be a reason for a failed sale. 
  • There is no shortcut to becoming a successful sales rep. You have to sell and learn from each sale.

Favorite quote from the book 

The amount of success is limited by the amount of action you take” 

#3 Spin Selling – Neil Rackham

Most salespeople might already know about SPIN selling. However, not many know that this methodology was derived from the book ‘SPIN Selling’ by Neil Rackham. He introduced the concept of SPIN selling in the form of a series of questions that need to be asked to a prospect before moving on with a sale. The book is a compilation of case studies, success stories, and experimental observations from over 35,000 sales calls.

Key Takeaways:

  • The best way to stop objections from coming up in the first place is by asking implication questions. How is their pain point making them lose time, money, effort, etc.
  • Questions are a much more effective tool than pressure in the world of sales.
  • While talking to prospects, keep repeating the main benefits of your product and then suggest the next logical step for them to take.

Favorite quote from the book :

“The building of perceived value is probably the single most important selling skill in larger sales.” 

#4 To Sell is Human – Daniel Pink

In this book, Daniel Pink points out that everyone born in this world is a salesperson, either directly or indirectly. We are constantly selling ourselves and our ideas daily, both at work and at home. The author talks about the ABC of sales viz. Attunement, Buoyancy, and Clarity. He also takes us through the various strategies of selling, how the field has evolved over the years, and what it takes to become a successful seller, all with the help of illustrations, real-life incidents, and facts. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Sales is not about inducing pressure in the minds of the prospects but making their lives better.
  • Successful salespeople are good listeners. They always try to understand the buyer’s perspective before selling.
  • Sales is always about catching tiny little signals during your conversations with the prospects. Particularly, pay attention to why prospects are saying ‘No’, so that you can handle the objections better.

Favorite quote from the book :

“To sell well is to convince someone else to part with resources—not to deprive that person, but to leave him better off in the end.”

#5 Fanatical Prospecting – Jeb Blount

This book by Jeb Blount primarily focuses on the art of prospecting. He says that reps must be aggressive and relentless in their efforts to become successful B2B sales experts. According to Blount, finding good prospects is more important than being an expert in closing deals. Because having good prospects automatically gets your work done. 

Key Takeaways:

  • An empty sales pipeline is the biggest reason for reps to not succeed in sales An empty sales pipeline is the result of the reps’ inability to prospect consistently.
  • There are three laws that every salesperson must follow -
    • Prospects are available everywhere.
    • Every ‘No’ takes you closer to a ‘Yes’
    • Continue marching towards the goal until it is reached.

Favorite quote from the book :

“There is no easy button in sales. Prospecting is hard, emotionally draining work, and it is the price you have to pay to earn a high income.” 

#6 The Challenger Sale – Matthew Dixon & Brent Adamson

In this book, the author defines a Challenger as someone who is able to identify the customer’s problem and offer their product as the best solution tactfully. Like SPIN, the Challenger sales methodology is one of the oldest methodologies still in existence. It is used as a tool to achieve greater conversions by taking control of the sales process.

Key Takeaways:

  • Probe the customer with questions to find out more information about themselves, their business, and their pain points and to get them to think that there is no better alternative than your product. 
  • Challengers are made, not born. It's the skills they gain over the years that matter.
  • Building a Challenger sales force is a long journey. You cannot build such a competent workforce in a day.

Favorite quote from the book:

“After all, there’s usually little stopping your competition from discounting their way to a win. In that game, loyalty is essentially irrelevant, as customers aren’t looking for a partner, they’re looking for a bargain.” 

#7 How I raised myself from failure to success in selling – Frank Bettger

The author, Frank Bettger, takes us through the numerous failures he has come across during his lifetime as a salesperson. According to this book, a common salesperson tends to give up after a few tries and move on. But a successful one never gives up and always tries to get to the top even after failing many times. Resilience, patience, and hard work are some of the key characteristics of such a salesperson.

Key Takeaways:

  • Focus on making your . 
  • Know A-Z about your business and stay abreast with all the latest happenings. This will give you the confidence to win over the prospects.
  • Listen with keen ears to the pain points of the prospects. And always try to take the focus away from you during a sales conversation. It’s always them.

Favorite quote from the book:

“Failures mean nothing at all if success comes eventually. And that’s a thought that should cheer you up and help you keep on keeping on when the going seems hard. Keep going! Each week, each month, you are improving. One day soon, you will find a way to do the thing that today looks impossible.” 

#8 The Ultimate Sales Machine – Chet Holmes

In this book, the author explains that to be a successful B2B salesperson, one must have 4 characteristics imbibed in them – prospecting, presenting, closing, and service. These four characteristics help a salesperson find the right prospect, pitch their product in the most presentable manner, and close the deal. He has filled the book with tips, tricks, and strategies that are useful for both newbie salespeople and experienced ones.

Key Takeaways:

  • Continuously train your sales staff. This is the best way to make them a sales machine.
  • A sales machine never sells just the product. They sell the brand and the history of the store.
  • Try to reach the decision-maker as early as possible. It is particularly important in large companies where you will be going on a wild goose chase otherwise.

Favorite quote from the book:

“Use market data, not product data. Set the buying criteria in your favor. Find the “smoking gun,” the one thing that undeniably positions you over everyone else. Make sure you hit their pain points. Include your own pitch for your product or service only after you have covered the education thoroughly.” 

#9 Never Split the Difference – Chris Voss

Negotiating is one of the key skills of a salesperson, and this entire book revolves around it. It has been a guidebook for many salespeople in recent years. According to it, the key to becoming a successful negotiator is to empathize with the prospect, get a hold of their perspective and find a common ground to negotiate.

Key Takeaways:

  • In every negotiation scenario, there are at least two groups. The easiest way to reach a positive climax is by understanding what each party wants from the other.
  • Your prospects want to be understood. They want you to make the effort to understand what can help them currently to succeed in their business. 
  • Always find questions or topics that the prospect will be happy to answer. It’s the best path to understand their point of view and what they think about their pain points.

Favorite quote from the book:

“He who has learned to disagree without being disagreeable has discovered the most valuable secret of negotiation.”

#10 The Greatest Salesman in the World – OG Mandino

OG Mandino’s book “The Greatest Salesman in the World” is fictitious yet an eye-opener for many salespeople. The book follows the story of a young guy Hamid who grew up in a small village in the Middle East and later moved to the United States and made a living by selling paper products. The story captures the entire life story of Hamid, including how he had an idea, how he started selling, how he failed and learnt from his mistakes, and how he eventually became the ‘the greatest salesman in the world’.

Key Takeaways:

  • In any selling process, you must follow time-tested principles. Follow those principles and make them into habits. 
  • Be persistent. No matter how many times you fail, it is important to look at each failure as a stepping stone to success and an opportunity to learn something new.
  • It’s impossible to absorb all the feelings of customers during conversations. Humans are complex creatures. You, as a salesperson, have to transform yourself into a positive source of empathy and hear them out. This way, you can convert them into customers.

Favorite quote from the book:

“Wealth, my son, should never be your goal in life. Your words are eloquent but they are mere words. True wealth is of the heart, not of the purse.” 

Wrapping Up

And those are the best sales books every B2B sales rep must read to overcome obstacles and become successful in their career. All these books educate, enlighten, and leave you with a lot more knowledge about selling than you will have before reading them. Many of these books can even become your mentors, as you can keep revisiting them whenever you encounter an issue in your sales career.

If you are a sales manager or a leader, you can also use sales coaching software to improve the knowledge of your reps and make them better at selling. Rafiki is currently the #1 sales coaching software in 2022. It offers advanced solutions that can help new B2B reps win more.

How to promote cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment?

Any company's success solely relies on how its employees come together, keep together, and work together. Take any successful project in your organization. You will find that there is one common thread linking all of them - cross-functional collaboration.

In this post, we're going to dive deep and understand everything about cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment and the right tool to help you with it.

What is cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment?

When collaboration happens between employees working from the office and those working from home across all departments, you have cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment.

Zoom call during hybrid work.
Zoom call in a hybrid environment

Here are some common examples of cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment

  • The sales team (working from home) and the development team (working at the office) are discussing the ETA of a custom feature that one of the prospects requested.
  • The development team (working from the office) and the testing team (working from a coworking space) are collaborating to eliminate all the bugs in the application.
  • The sales team (sitting at the customer’s place) is interacting with the customer success team (working from home) about the possibilities of an upsell.

Factors that get in the way of cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment

1. Poor selection of tools

Poor selection of tools can often result in information losses, communication gaps, and interpersonal conflicts, all of which can push the teams away from achieving their common goal. 

For instance, imagine a call taking place between the sales team in the US and the development team. The former is explaining the latter about the newest requirement of a client in the application. Now, without a proper tool, most of the important information can be lost, especially if the development hasn’t taken any notes(to focus on the call) or recorded the call.

However, when you use a tool like Rafiki, all your calls are automatically recorded and transcribed, letting your teams focus on the call. 

2. Lack of transparency

In a hybrid environment, everyone is an avatar on screen - a severe lack of personal touch. Most people do not know whether to trust colleagues from their contemporary team with all the information related to a project or not. As a result of this fear, teams start putting their tasks that impact the common company goal at the bottom of their day’s pile.

3. Improperly aligned common goals

Many teams not only make the mistake of setting misaligned goals but also fail to define the roles and responsibilities of individual team members working towards them. The result is chaos as nobody knows what they are working for, how to work, and why it is vital to achieving that goal in the first place.

4. Linguistic and Cultural Barriers

Many companies have started hiring beyond their borders, thanks to the hybrid working model. However, this comes at a cost. Though most speak English, it does not necessarily mean that everyone can follow along. Factors such as accents, local references, or cultural differences can make everyday communication difficult. ,. 

How to promote cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment?

Cross-functional collaboration during hybrid work
Cross-functional collaboration during hybrid work

1. Pick the right tools

The most fundamental step is selecting the right tools for your arsenal. Since your teams are at different places in a hybrid environment, the tools you pick will be the primary way they collaborate instead of face-to-face interactions. Gartner has found that there has been a 44% increase in employees’ use of collaboration tools in recent times. 

The tools you choose should facilitate both seamless communication and track and record the conversations for later references. It should be able to record, transcribe, and capture key moments of every discussion and share them with all the stakeholders.

Rafiki checks all the above boxes and can be a valuable addition to your team to promote cross-functional collaboration. Sign up for a free 14-day trial now. 

2. Set the ground rules

Setting ground rules in a hybrid environment is critical because the chances of conflicts are high. Here are some simple ground rules you can establish - 

  • Be clear on the expectations from everyone towards achieving the common goal. 
  • Highlight what each member needs to do so that no one feels overburdened. 
  • Give your team a clear sense of how everyone is expected to behave during a meeting. Adopting the right virtual meeting etiquette instills a sense of professionalism and confidence in employees.
  • Give them the liberty to speak their point of view, even if it means disagreeing with someone. After all, the cross-functional collaboration aims to find better solutions by bringing diverse people together. 
  • Bring transparency to how financial decisions are taken and ensure all stakeholders are on board.

3. Create KPIs to measure collaboration success

Cross-functional collaboration tends to create the illusion of no accountability in a hybrid environment. The best way to avoid this is by setting up Key Performance Indicators that are measurable in a remote environment. Use these KPIs to track the progress of different teams in attaining the common goal. More importantly, you must reward individuals or teams for high performance.

4. Arrange discussions in the right frequency and duration

Having too many discussions(or too long) in the name of cross-functional collaboration doesn’t leave enough time for your teams to work toward the common goal. 

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set up discussions. On the contrary, you must set up regular discussions between your teams as they are an essential part of cross-functional collaboration. 

But you must ensure that these meetings do not last more than 10 minutes. Longer meetings can be reserved exclusively for discussing important updates, planning new goals, or celebrating milestones.

Drawbacks of not having cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment

When you do not encourage cross-functional collaboration in your organization, you can experience the following drawbacks - 

1. Waste of employees’ time

When your cross-functional teams are not collaborating effectively, it can impact your bottom line. For instance, imagine an employee from the sales team is searching for an important document for hours when it could have been instantly provided by the customer success team. Such situations are bound to crop up if you haven’t promoted cross-functional collaboration in your organization.

2. Loss of talent

Companies across the world are promoting their adoption of a hybrid environment to attract talent. And cross-functional collaboration is an essential part of a hybrid environment. When an organization doesn’t promote cross-functional collaboration, it is considered ‘old school’. Candidates will refrain from joining such an organization. Even employees will move out of such organizations, resulting in a human capital crisis. A study shows that around 99.1% want to be part of an organization that encourages communication.

3. Less Engaged Employees

When there is no cross-functional collaboration in your organization, you will experience decreased productivity due to less engaged employees. Without cross-functional collaboration, your teams will feel less connected with one another, which can cause an environment of mistrust in your organization. A study shows that companies that promoted collaboration were 5 times more likely to be high performing.

4. Reduces creativity

Cross-functional collaboration breeds creativity as it encourages ideas to flow from all sides of the organization. When there is no collaboration, creativity automatically goes down. Lack of collaboration narrows everyone’s perspective and reduces their problem-solving skills.

How does Rafiki promote cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment?

Rafiki is a conversation intelligence tool that tracks every conversation in cross-functional collaboration and provides valuable insights from it. Here are the different ways in which Rafiki can promote cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment 

  • Rafiki automatically records, transcribes, and analyses all your meetings.
  • With Rafiki, you can create snippets of key meeting moments, add them to a playlist and share them with your colleagues.   
  • Rafiki’s Call Notes and Moments, ensure your teams can focus on the discussion instead of jotting down every word. This helps them stay present in the meeting and contribute instead of focussing on mundane note-taking tasks. The best part? Rafiki automatically sorts the meeting notes by topic and syncs the notes directly to your CRM.
  • Time-stamped comments, scorecards for each call, conversation metrics such as talk-listen ratio, question rate, interactivity, and a whole host of other features ensure that your team is completely in sync. 

Conclusion

Cross-functional collaboration is that binding agent which brings different teams together in your organization and gets them to rally for a common cause. It fosters creativity, productivity, and trust among your employees, thus ensuring organizational success. As you have seen in this post, picking the right tool is the key to promoting cross-functional collaboration. 

A tool like Rafiki can be an asset for your organization. It can not only track every communication but also offer tips and insights that can help improve future communication and get your teams closer to that final goal. Explore the power of Rafiki on your own by signing up for a free 14-day trial.

5 must-read books for startup founders in 2022

Startups evolve rapidly. New founders are left with no choice but to adapt quickly.

And one major consequence of this - many strategies related to startups fail to stand the test of time.

But there are some exceptions.

Certain time-tested pearls of wisdom related to startups are still available today in the form of books.

To borrow a popular quote - “It's no secret that to learn more, one has to read more.”

Yes, the best place to kickstart your learning about the startup ecosystem is ‘books.’ This collection of thoughts is a treasure trove of knowledge that teaches you everything and anything from managing time to managing your employees.

We also understand that as a startup founder, you will not have the luxury to search for books, read reviews, and zero in on these books.

So to cut you some slack, we have come up with 5 must-read books for every startup founder out there to have a successful run in the startup world.

#1 Zero to One

This book offers a deep glimpse of how startup ventures are meant to be. Authored by Peter Thiel, the co-founder of Paypal and an early investor in Facebook, this book is full of challenging ideas backed by solid justifications that are apt for various startup scenarios.  

While this book is ideal for those building tech startups, there are a bunch of brilliant ideas that could contribute to your growth as a startup founder, irrespective of the domain.

Going From Zero To One According To Peter Thiel

# 2 The lean startup

Authored by Eric Ries and a bestseller on Amazon, this book not only showcases how to operate your startup but also how to use minimal resources to do it. Most startups do not have adequate capital to fund their ventures in the initial days. This is where the Lean Startup comes in handy. 

This book is replete with ideas such as favoring experimentation over planning, customer feedback over assumptions, and iterative design over the traditional waterfall model. Many of the ideas proposed by this book, such as Minimum Viable Product and prioritizing customer feedback, have already made a mark in most modern startups. 

Eric Ries talks about his book at Google

#3 Blue Ocean strategy

This book is perfect for three kinds of startup founders -

  • The ones who love to adopt a customer-centric approach
  • Those who want to avoid competition when they set afoot in the startup world. 
  • Those who are already established but need to distinguish themselves from their rival brands

Yes, you guessed it right, basically this book is for every startup founder out there. This book encourages startup founders to stay out of the red ocean of competition by tapping into uncontested market spaces. This involves creating and capturing new demands, redefining market boundaries, etc.

The crux of the blue ocean strategy is value and innovation. This is not just about technology innovation or being the first to enter the market in a new category. Instead, it is all about redefining the problem, crossing market boundaries, and serving exceptional value to the buyers.

Blue Ocean Strategy

#4 Hooked

Questions like these race through our minds more often than not - 

  • How do some products capture widespread attention, while others fail?
  • What makes us like some products and not others?
  • Why do certain technologies hook us? 

The book Hooked has all the answers for you. Authored by Nir Ayal, this book is the end product of years of research, consulting, practical knowledge, and experience of the author. The book is for marketers, designers, product managers, and mainly startup founders who are keen to understand how products influence human behavior.

#5 Start with why

This book revolves around a simple but powerful quote - “People do not buy what you do, they buy why you do.” When you know why you do something, you have a sense of belonging, and customers resonate with that. This is a very important lesson for all newbie startup founders out there. The book tells you to communicate why, then follow it with how, and finally reveal what you actually do. 

Starting with Why

Winding up…

The above-suggested books can greatly contribute to your startup growth. As a founder, your job is to pick valuable lessons from these books and apply them to your startup. 

Initially, all of your strategies come from customer feedback. As founders, you have to be on the ground with your customers helping them all the way through.  These details are critical to your business, but what if a tool records and helps you turn those insights into actions that have a significant business impact - that too with minimal intervention. That’s Rafiki for you.

Rafiki gives deep data about all conversations in the organization
Rafiki gives you deep, granular insights into all your conversations.

Rafiki records, transcribes, and analyses all your customer-facing meetings. The conversation intelligence platform creates automatic notes and allows your team to create meeting video snippets that they can use both internally and externally for following up on action items. Apart from creating a treasure trove of knowledge for your business, Rafiki also ensures that your meetings convert to closed deals by helping you deliver a seamless buying experience for your customers.

From automatically creating meeting notes to helping you develop a deal-winning strategy, Rafiki is the only tool that ensures all your customer conversations convert to closed deals. Want to know more? Book a free consultation with our product experts now.

P.S: Unlike other conversation intelligence solutions, Rafiki has no user minimums. It even has a metered pricing option, and special prices for startups.

10 Must-Have SaaS tools for startups in 2022

Let me begin this post with an encouraging fact for all SaaS startup enthusiasts - The industry is growing at a staggering rate of 18% year on year.
The growth of SaaS startups in the last decade is nothing short of a fairy tale. The top contributors to this meteoric rise were a customer-centric approach, a strong partner network, and product-led growth.

Then came the pandemic that brought a transformational opportunity for various SaaS startups to extend boundaries beyond their traditional audiences. This opportunity catalyzed the growth even more! 

However, such unprecedented growth comes with its own set of challenges. For starters, the competition is stiff among SaaS startups, making it an uphill climb for new ones to capitalize on the overall industry growth.

The only way for such new SaaS startups to rise above their competition is to improve their productivity and efficiency. And what better way to improve it than using various tools available in the market. This post recommends the top-10 tools a SaaS startup must own today for increased productivity.

1. No-code website builders such as Webflow

Your website acts as a conversion engine that either encourages or discourages a purchase from your company. There is massive pressure on your shoulders to build a professional website for your business. However, it is not easy without the help of some professional web development, which can be out of budget for most early-stage SaaS startups.

Using Webflow, you can transform your whole web development process and make it seamless. The best part? Your website can be managed by your sales team or design team without any prior coding knowledge, giving you better productivity. 

Webflow home page

2. Tracking tools such as HotJar or PageSense

Tracking tools help you get valuable information about your visitors. These tools track key metrics related to user behavior on your site. The insights generated can help you understand user needs better and offer them a personalized experience. Gone are the days when you shot arrows in the dark, gave visitors a one-size-fits-all solution, and expected them to buy your product without questions. Today, you need the help of tracking tools such as HotJar or PageSense to offer users exactly what they want, exactly where they look for it and turn them into loyal customers.

Hotjar home page
Zoho PageSense home page

3. Video conferencing tools such as Zoom or Google Meet

Video conferencing platforms helped businesses to get going or stay operational despite hurdles like pandemics in the past. Today it has become a core component of everyday communication for most startups. Modern-day video conferencing tools like Zoom offer several features, including app and screen sharing facilities for running meetings seamlessly from the comfort of our homes. From whiteboard notes to meeting recordings, you can store, retrieve or analyze any Zoom meeting without hassles. 

Zoom home page
Google meet home page

4. Productivity Suites such as G-Suite or Zoho One

Imagine how good it will be if you have a single application that lets you create, communicate, and share information. A productivity suite like G-suite or Zoho One does it for you. Now named Google Workspace, it comprises robust apps like Gmail, Drive, Meet, Calendar, and Docs that meet various purposes and let you manage your everyday workflow. 

Zoho One home page
Google Workspace home page

5. Social Media tools such as Hootsuite

When you are a brand new SaaS business, leads and customers are hard to attract even if your product is good. Cold outreach can take time and is not super-reliable. Hence, the easiest way to deepen your relationships with your stakeholders or prospects is by using social media. Branding tools such as Hootsuite help your business build a deeply engaging social media presence.

From social listening on platforms to engaging in AI-powered social e-commerce, you can do them all with such tools. Hootsuite has a scalable platform and strong industry partnerships. It can uncover deep insights about your target audience and get you one step closer to converting them.

Hootsuite home page

6. CRM such as HubSpot, Zoho, or Freshsales

A CRM is a bridge between your business and the customers. It can be difficult for your sales team to juggle multiple tools for connecting with the customers. But having a robust CRM like HubSpot, Zoho, or Freshsales can help build meaningful conversations with your customers through contextual engagement before demos, after which tools such as Rafiki take over. You can drive leads to close and manage different pipelines seamlessly via a CRM and conversation intelligence integration. Choosing tools that support this integration is critical as it would be the gold mine of information for your startup to understand gaps across product, pitch, and customer expectations.

HubSpot CRM home page
Zoho CRM home page
Freshsales home page

7. Omnichannel engagement tools like Intercom

A survey states that about 88% of customers expect an online self-service portal from a business. Support articles such as FAQs, product manuals, and chat assistance are table stakes and not a luxury anymore. To prepare a support article base, aka knowledge base articles, you can use tools such as Intercom. Apart from enabling the curation and publication of help articles, Intercom also doubles up as an omnichannel customer engagement platform. Chats, emails, Help articles, in-product banners, and product tours are some of its features. Intercom even offers exclusive pricing plans for startups to help you get started.

Intercom home page

8. Time management tools like Hubstaff

If you are looking to eliminate inefficiencies and incorporate streamlined time management for your projects, then Hubstaff is the tool. Hubstaff helps manage time for each project by identifying roadblocks, managing invoices, creating detailed reports, and much more. It integrates with 30+ popular software, including Github, Asana, Trello, and Paypal, making your work-life simple.

Hubstaff home page

9. Collaboration tools like Slack

Collaborating with teams and with clients has to be quick, seamless, and reliable for a business to run in good health. Tools like Slack allows you to automate routine actions and communications so that your team can focus on their primary objectives without any problems. Slack comes with an array of features that lets you share and manage files, create polls, set reminders, etc.

Slack home page

10. Conversation intelligence tools such as Gong or Rafiki

In a startup, most of the core team's time gets spent on redundant tasks such as recording customer interactions, taking notes, analyzing them for product insights, feeding the information to CRM, and so on. 

What if this time gets spent on pitching to leads and closing deals and not on manual tasks like note-taking that can easily be automated? That is precisely what Rafiki or Gong helps you do. While Gong focuses on enterprise customers, Rafiki is more suited for SMBs.

Gong home page

Rafiki is a conversation intelligence platform that integrates with your CRM (Not just Salesforce or HubSpot), Google calendar, GMeet, and Zoom, to name a few. It records and transcribes your meetings, captures key topics and moments from your meeting conversations, and even generates automatic notes sorted by topics to get you started.

Rafiki home page

While traditional conversation intelligence solutions stop with analyzing meetings, Rafik is the only solution that allows you to contextually follow up with your prospects and ensure your deals close. 

High-growth teams at Hippo-Video, Businessfirst.io, and NoBroker trust Rafiki's insights for their sales productivity. No minimum license mandates, one-click integration with SMB-focused CRMs such as Zoho, Freshsales, Pipedrive, and affordable pricing make Rafiki the default choice for SaaS startups.

Built for SMBs, Rafiki is highly affordable, easy to use, set up, and offers a free trial with all the features of an enterprise-grade tool for a fraction of the cost. It even has exclusive follow-up and tracking features that help increase the prospect engagement rate post-demos that no other platform offers. 

Winding-up

The above list of tools will help you become more efficient and help you materialize your startup vision on the ground. If you are a SaaS startup starting anew or have a limited budget, then G-Suite, Webflow, A CRM, Rafiki, and Zoom should be a part of your tool stack to navigate the initial days. The remaining tools can follow once you have customers and some revenue.

Sales 101 for SMBs - Getting the 7 Step sales process right the first time - Part 3

So far, we have seen the five steps in a typical sales process. Our first blog captured the initial steps that a quintessential sales representative has to go through to lay the foundation of his/her sales process, viz. prospecting, preparation and approach. This was followed by another post on subsequent steps that they have to take while actually interacting with the prospects - presentation and handling objections. 

Now, this post is all about the closure, i.e., what happens during the actual purchase and what happens after that. Read on...

Closing

Though it comes at the end, it is undoubtedly one of the most important parts in the multi-step sales process.In this stage, you carefully assess your client's interest to invest in your service or product. You also have to understand their propensity to purchase by evaluating the client's budget, requirement, and ability to utilize your service or product correctly to give them positive results. 

Once you have done that, it's time to make your finishing move. This is when you ask your client their decision on how they would like to move forward doing business with you. If all’s well, they will sign the contract with you. 

Now, when it comes to closing, there are three major techniques that you can embrace. Here are they - 

Alternative close choice: This is probably the most popular one and is used by most businesses. In this,  you give the client a perception that everyone is okay with your terms and is happy to close the deal. You can do so by creating an impression that the sale is almost complete and then offering the prospect two options, both of which should lead to a sale.

For Example: Would you like to pay the whole fee upfront or do you like to do that in installments? 

Extra Inducement Close: This is something that a lot of salespeople have in the buffer; if the prospect looks promising and seems like a great long-term partner, then this technique would be ideal for you. In this technique, the salesperson offers the prospect something extra for free - this could be offering the product or service free for 2-3 months or a substantial discount for the same period.

Standing room only close: Create a FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) effect in the minds of the prospects. You can do so by letting them know that you only have a few more spots left this month at a special price.

Follow Up

If you are on this step, then congratulations are in order as you have successfully closed a deal. This is indeed a great achievement, but your job as a sales rep doesn't end here. You need to regularly follow up with the customer. This will lead to -

  • Customer satisfaction
  • Ability to acquire new prospects by word of mouth
  • Customer retention 

Send a thank-you note, and be in constant touch with the customer even if it seems like they are never going to leave you. Ask them if the product is helpful for them and it is meeting their needs. Also, find out if they need any help related to the product. 

You can also send them informative content like blogs, newsletters, and new additions regarding product updates and services. This will keep the customer informed and connected with your business.

Pro tip: Create a feedback loop for the customers where they share their experience about using your product. Conduct email surveys once a month with an array of open-ended questions to understand their sentiment about your product. 

Bonus Step: Track the sales process

Your sales process has to be constantly tracked. You need to ensure that it doesn’t deviate from the intended path. The chances are pretty high for it to go wayward as everything is dynamic in the world of sales. This is where sales leaders should take control of the narrative. They should identify a pattern about key competitor mentions, deal risks, common objections, etc., and use this knowledge to fine-tune the sales process. 

In other words, you need to embrace deal analytics and sales intelligence. Our Sales expert webinar's recording tells you how to achieve that. It will also coach your sales reps to close more deals, letting you scale up your SMB in no time.

Do not miss this chance to learn from our experts and learn everything about the sales process. Wanted to attend future sessions? Follow our Linkedin for instant updates about our upcoming sessions.

Sales 101 for SMBs - Getting the 7 Step sales process right the first time - Part 2

In our last post, we had seen what a sales process is, how it is the lifeblood of any business, and took a glimpse of the first three stages of a sales process, viz. prospecting, preparation and approach. We will now move on to the next two stages in this post.

Presentation

Here is where the actual salesperson comes into play. The document prepared in the ‘preparation’ stage will come in handy here while you present your product or service to the prospects. 

First, ensure that your pitch deck is optimized and personalized to your prospect’s needs. It is important that you focus on the benefits and features of your product, and present them as solutions to your prospect’s pain points in this deck. Alternatively, you can give a detailed demonstration of your product highlighting why your product or service is the best fit for your prospect. Once you have given all the required information to the prospect through your presentation, the prospect would be thinking about the cross offers and comparing yours with others. 

At this point, your research about your competition will come in handy. You need to point out your offering’s unique selling points (USPs), how your offering is better than your competitors (without degrading them) and how it perfectly fits the prospect’s needs.

If you have made the presentation conversational and asked the right questions until this point, you will have a good idea about what other features the client would benefit from. This will help you decide when to offer them enhanced services (called upselling) for an additional fee. But remember - never sell prospects something they don't need; this would make them lose trust in you.

Here are some handy tips for you while presenting your product to the prospect - 

  • Keep the presentation short, engaging, and value-focused.
  • Speak a language that the prospects understand. Do not use technical jargon and complicated phrases while talking to them.
  • Focus only on the significant features. Do not talk about points that do not apply to the prospects.
  • End the presentation properly. Summarize all the points and decide upon the next steps.

Handling Objections

Once your presentation is complete (or even in between), it is quite natural for the prospect to have some objections or hesitation. When they do that, you should give all your ears to their points. As a salesperson, you should see these objections as opportunities to understand your prospect much better.

The first thing you should do is acknowledge the concern the prospect has made. Then offer solutions to tackle that concern in a meaningful way. Try to ask multiple questions to understand their views and then address them one by one. 

Pro-Tip: Be ready with some subsequent questions or effective responses to some common customer objections. It will help you face them confidently. Here are four types of objections and some of the questions you might encounter under each of those headers -

Lack of Budget

“We don't have the budget right now.”

“Your product doesn’t fit our budget.”

Lack of Trust

“We’re not aware of your company.”

Lack of Need

“I don't think this will suit us.”

Lack of Urgency

“Your product is not on our priority list right now.”

Conclusion

The sales process is highly dynamic and must be consistently reviewed, tweaked, and revamped to meet customer expectations. This will help you offer an exceptional experience to them. The above two sales process stages are highly crucial to your organization’s success and need to be perfected over time.

For more such tips and information on the sales process (and everything else), you can watch our Sales Expert Webinar where an expert from the industry addresses problems of scaling sales.

Sales 101 for SMBs - Getting the 7 Step sales process right the first time - Part 1

Every business is different. But the really successful ones have one thing in common – a streamlined sales process. The equation is pretty straightforward - the more time and higher quality effort you put into a sales process, the better your chances of converting a prospect to a lifelong customer. 

But what exactly is a sales process? Here's a simple definition of it - 

“It is a series of repeatable steps that a business needs to adopt to convert a prospect into a paying customer.”

Think of it as a set of rules that dictates how customers flow across your sales pipeline. A well-defined sales process is your ticket to grow revenue and make sure that every interaction with prospects is a success. 

Now, typically, there are seven steps to a typical sales process. They include prospecting, preparation, approach, presentation, handling objections, closing, and follow-up. However, each of these steps can be a tough nut to crack especially when you’ve just stepped into the world of business. It is quite difficult to get the sales process right on the first try as an SMB. It would often take multiple iterations and research to get the right process that fits your business profile. 

The best place to start the research is by studying key competitor mentions, the right way to handle them, and bridging feature or pricing gaps. This post elaborates the first three steps in detail and explains how these steps have been mastered by some of the best in the business. Here are they - 

Prospecting

This stage is all about research. You need to find out whether- 

  • The lead fits under your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
  • The lead has a need for your service/product
  • Can the lead afford your product/service at this point in time? 

Only if the lead satisfies all the above criteria, they will qualify as a prospect.

Pro tip: Targeting just one lead from an organization is never a good practice. A study by Lucidchart shows that purchase decisions are taken by an average of 6.8 stakeholders from an organization. So reach out to multiple decision-makers from one business by following and connecting with them.

Businesses such as Vtiger use LinkedIn extensively to reach out and connect with various leads to turn them into prospects. They have nailed the art of using LinkedIn Sales Navigator to filter out the target audience based on their ICP, send connections and follow-ups to convert leads into prospects. 

Preparation

This is the stage where your lead has converted into a prospect. In other words, they have engaged with you in one form or the other. Like prospecting, this stage also predominantly revolves around research. The only difference is - in this step, you research the prospect market better and understand how your product/service can alleviate their pain points and offer maximum benefit to them. You also need to understand the existing product/service your prospect is using and how yours is better than that.

Pro-tip: It is critical that you prepare a document in this phase. It should contain all your research about the market and concise information about how your product/service will help the prospect grow.

Approach

The old adage “First impression is the best impression” is quite apt at this stage. Your approach and the impression you create determine how soon you can convert the prospect into a paying customer. In this stage, you plan the approach of your interaction, right from your first meeting all the way to your tactics to book the next meeting. There are three types of approaches that you can follow throughout your interaction- 

  1. Question approach: This approach is all about asking the right questions to build their interest throughout your interaction.
  2. Product approach: When you are confident about your product/service, you can offer a free trial or sample to the prospect to evaluate and review your product.
  3. Premium approach: This is a unique approach where you offer prospects attractive offers and gifts to build a sense of reciprocity with them.

TrackBox chose the product approach. They offered a demo of the product to their prospects. They also asked the prospects to refer their product to others who may benefit from the software.

What’s Next?

And those are the first three stages of a well-oiled sales process. We will be back with the next set of stages in our next post. So stay tuned.

Also, this is just a teaser of what was discussed in our Sales Expert Webinar Series. You will hear more about key problem areas and how to address those straight from the horse’s mouth (our sales experts). Watch the webinar recording here with the transcripts.

The Complete Guide to Unique Selling Proposition [How Sales Intelligence Software Can Help]

Small businesses are thriving in the United States--there are 31.7 million of them! 

How can you hope to distinguish yourself from others? Competing only on price will not cut it. 

A strong, memorable unique selling proposition will set you apart from your competitors. It will compel customers to pick you over other brands.

You must identify your unique selling proposition and use it to guide your overall branding and marketing strategy.

What is a unique selling proposition?

A unique selling proposition or a unique selling point (USP) is a summary of the specific benefit(s) that your product/service offers to the customer. 

It is used by sales and marketing teams to differentiate the brand from direct competitors and communicate its unique value.

The unique sales proposition answers the question: Why should a potential customer buy from you?

Note that marketing offers like “up to 70% off,” “free shipping nationwide,” and “24X7 customer service” are not unique selling points. Everybody can offer them. 

Also, a selling proposition is more than just a catchy headline. Your product/service should be able to hold up to its promise.

What is unique selling proposition

Why is a unique selling proposition important?

More than 90% of the business population in the United States is composed of small and medium businesses (SalesForce, 2019). That’s the size of the market from which you have to stand apart!

Your unique marketing proposition is important because:

  • It is an important part of your marketing strategy (4Ps). It guides marketing messages in advertisements, banners, social media, and so on.
  • It defines your position in the market and how you provide value.
  • It guides customer-facing teams on messaging and mission.
  • It targets potential customers, offers solutions to their problems, and prevents client churn.

Examples of unique selling propositions

A unique selling proposition shouldn’t be limited to a tagline. But you should be able to summarize your competitive advantage with your tagline.

Let’s take a look at some brilliantly crafted unique selling proposition examples and analyze why they work:

1. FedEx

FedEx has a memorable USP--“When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” 

When it was first used in the 1970s, it was the only company that could help you deliver a package overnight.

FedEx has continued to back its USP through its extensive network and infrastructure. Deliveries are done on time and the company focuses on customer experience. 

2. Canva

Canva is an online designing and publishing tool meant for people who cannot use advanced editing tools like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

Its USP, “...empower everyone in the world to design anything and publish anywhere,” is reflected in its simple and user-friendly platform. 

Users can choose from thousands of pre-made templates, shapes, and elements to design a professional flyer, brochure, or any other document.

Canva discovered a gap in the market and capitalized on it to grow to 30 million active users across 190 countries (as of June 2020).

3. ConvertKit

When ConvertKit launched in 2001 as a paid email marketing service, it was the only one to target professional bloggers and podcasters. It has advanced automation features and other features geared towards bloggers who want to grow their email lists.

Its tagline, “Email Marketing for Professional Bloggers,” is backed by a focus on content rather than design. As a result, it has received the blessings of leading bloggers like Pat Flynn and Abby. 

4. Stripe

With strong competitors like Payoneer and PayPal, how has Stripe distinguished itself?

It has positioned itself as a comprehensive financial solutions provider. Stripe targets developers and business owners who want to actively manage their payments processes. 

It offers various financial facilities and business cards to manage online payments instead of being just a payment gateway. It also has local partner programs to offer complete marketing solutions.

5. Starbucks

The USP of Starbucks is “Commitment to the highest quality coffee in the world.” 

How does it differentiate itself from other coffee shops? It positions itself as a hangout place where you can spend time with friends and family. 

Starbucks focuses not just on the quality of coffee it serves, but also on the overall experience. People like to sit at a Starbucks cafe and work because they enjoy the experience, including having their name written on their coffee cup!

3 ways to identify your unique selling proposition

To grow your sales, you need to discover your unique sales proposition and target your efforts accordingly. You can begin by analyzing the USP of other companies and how they craft their marketing messages.

For instance, airline companies don’t sell tickets, they sell benefits like on-time service or in-flight dining facilities.

Follow these steps to understand what is a USP:

1. Think from the customer’s perspective.

Instead of assuming that you know what your customers want, try to find out what they’re really looking for by conducting market research. 

Apart from pricing, factors like convenience, quality, reliability, and customer service also make a difference in how your customers view you.

Find a feature that meets the needs of your customers and devise your sales and marketing plans around it.

2. Analyze what influences your customers’ purchase decisions.

Remember that customers are not convinced to buy only based on logic. The emotional element is more powerful. For instance, clothing brands don’t sell clothes; they sell things like style and fit. 

It is important to understand the psychological motivation behind customers’ purchases.

3. Find out why your customers choose your products/services over others.

Check out your direct competitors and perform an in-depth analysis to find out why their customers choose them. Look up their marketing messages, social media pages, and websites. 

You’ll be able to determine your strengths and weaknesses as compared to your competitors. 

You can customize your marketing messages to focus on your strengths and not mention your weaknesses. Also, you can devise a strategy to improve on your weaknesses.

Once you’ve completed these three steps, ask yourself:

  • Which feature(s) of your product/service separate you from the pack?
  • How can you position yourself to attract your customers?

4 steps to craft a unique selling proposition

4 steps to craft a unique selling proposition

You have crystallized your strengths and now you know what is a unique selling proposition. But, how do you communicate it effectively?

1. Highlight your differentiating factor

Your unique selling proposition in marketing should make you stand out and should not be something your competitors can also use. Thus, your unique sales proposition should focus on highlighting this competitive edge. 

Selling proposition example: 

Starbucks has the slogan - “Love your beverage. Or let us know, we’ll make it right.” 

They don’t just sell good coffee; they promise that they will customize it based on your preferences.

2. Use short phrases

You should be able to communicate your unique selling proposition clearly and concisely. Long-winded sentences will fail to hold your customers’ interest. 

Your unique marketing proposition should compel your customers to want to know more about you.

Unique selling proposition example: 

BMW’s USP lies in its short and sweet tagline - “Sheer driving pleasure.”

3. Use superlative adjectives.

Use words like best, first, favourite, greatest, only, and so on to communicate your passion and enthusiasm for your brand. 

E.g. 

  • The world’s best chocolate...
  • A favourite among discerning gentlemen…
  • The only tool you need to create your marketing materials...

However, you should be able to back up such statements with your product/service. Else, it will appear overtly salesy.

4. Make your offering irresistible.

Your unique selling proposition should tell customers what’s in it for them, rather than how good you are. Give them a picture of how they stand to benefit after purchasing from you. 

E.g. 

  • Liquor companies sell the social benefits and status that is reflected in your choice of good liquor. 
  • Cosmetics companies sell the beauty, attractiveness, and glamour that customers will gain after using the product. 

How to A/B test your unique selling proposition?

You don’t stop at identifying and crafting your unique selling proposition - you test different versions to see which one gets you more customers.

A/B testing is a common practice in online marketing, wherein brands try to optimize marketing elements for more conversions.

Some of the ways in which you can A/B test your unique selling proposition are:

  • Landing pages

Use variations of your unique selling proposition to figure out which one the customer finds more relatable. Compare using specific metrics such as product purchases.

  •  Sales demo 

If your sales team reports that prospects resonate with a unique selling proposition, you can be confident of running with it. It will cause customers to believe in your offering and ask for more information.

How can Rafiki help you identify your unique selling proposition?

Rafiki is a comprehensive revenue intelligence and conversation intelligence tool that can help you identify your unique selling proposition by generating advanced prospect data. 

Topic trends captured from prospect and customer meetings enable you to research your target market and refine your offerings. 

Sales demo meetings are a source of rich insights into buying behaviour and motivation. Rafiki helps you pinpoint your prospects’ pain points and desires by analyzing these calls.

You can also identify opportunities to sell by mining intent data from prospect calls. Thus, a tool like Rafiki empowers your sales team to connect with the right customer at the right time. 

For more information on how Rafiki can be your sales intelligence partner, contact us today.

Personal AI Sales Assistants: Everything you need to know

Sales teams are often burdened with tasks that don’t directly impact the success of a deal. -For instance, analyzing the call notes once the meeting is over or feeding the data manually to a CRM.

The time saved from these tasks could be utilized to talk to more customers and closing more deals. Unfortunately, you can't completely avoid these tasks. Neglecting these activities could mean most of your rep’s time is spent on cold calling customers which often doesn’t lead to any sales. 

But there is a way to free up your sales team’s time, and that too without compromising on these processes!

The solution is ‘Personal AI Sales Assistant’. Here is a classic definition of it - 

“Tools to help sales teams automate tasks, such as qualifying leads, following up with them, scheduling meetings, and even perform data entry.”

How a personal AI Sales Assistant can help

Personal AI sales assistants can be used to give your sales team the edge they need to stay ahead of your competition. 

Even if you’re a lead gathering genius, there’s only so much that you can do in 24 hours. An AI assistant can help you analyze lead data and match it with your ICP (Ideal Customer Profiles). It does so by unifying multiple data sources across your organization(such as CRM, social media, and more). Adding to this, it comes up with actionable insights and prescriptive suggestions regarding the medium and communication channel to use - all of which reduces your efforts.

The best part is you can avoid human errors as most of the tasks are performed without manual intervention. 

With a strong and accurate sales pipeline, you can reduce the costs incurred by your organization to bring in new customers, all the while increasing the pace at which you bring in new customers. 

Secondly, getting tons of leads from your marketing team can be great, but none of those leads mean anything if they’re not becoming opportunities or paying customers. As every sales executive knows, converting leads into actual sales involves a lot of legwork. 

Lead Opportunity

This is where personal AI sales assistants can again really shine. By engaging visitors and leads with personalized experiences based on their interests, these leads can be engaged and moved quickly through the sales funnel reducing the lead to opportunity length drastically. 

Top features to look for in an AI sales assistant

Now that you know what you stand to gain by using an AI sales assistant, you should also know what to look for when you’re in the market for one. 

#1. Automation Capabilities

Automation is by far the most important feature you want in your personal AI sales assistant. Automating sales processes, scheduling meetings, transcribing meetings, taking notes, entering data, and handling cold leads will free up a lot of time for your sales team that they could use to talk to customers and close deals. Not only does this save time for your team, but it also reduces the money spent in doing all of those other tasks. 

For instance, Rafiki (www.getRafiki.ai), your personal AI sales assistant, fully automates most of the manual work related to your team’s sales calls. This includes automatic retrieval of meetings from calendars, recording of calls, transcribing them, capturing notes, and coming up with intelligent insights to help with better follow-up and call prep. The best part is Rafiki also takes care of the grunt work of syncing all these data to your CRM, relieving your reps to focus on closing the deal.

Automobile Capabilities

#2. Bot Availability

Companies should be available for their potential customers 24 X 7 in order to make a sale. Even if you work in a different time zone from your customer, and you have a perfectly justifiable reason, if you don’t answer the questions of your prospect at the right time, you could end up losing an important sale. 

However, your sales teams can’t be expected to operate 24/7 to answer customer questions. Luckily, this is where bots come in. Platforms like Ubicore and Botsent have dedicated chatbots that you can deploy to answer questions, collect information about potential customers, send data automatically to your CRM, etc. These chatbots are so advanced that they can schedule meetings with potential customers on their own. They can even enable visitors to call your directly from the chat widget, empowering you to answer questions right away.

#3. Integration with other Sales Software

Choosing an AI personal assistant that can integrate with your other tools and systems such as CRM is important. An AI sales assistant that demands you change your entire workflow structure will only end up causing a lot of internal disruption and downtime. 

A great personal AI sales assistant will fit into your existing processes with minimal downtime and integration complexity. As a result, you can focus less on ironing out technical issues, and spend more time on actually selling your solutions to your customers. 

With Rafiki, you can connect with your CRM, conference call tools, and messaging platforms in minutes thanks to its plug & play integrations with these tools. For instance, Rafiki’s Zoom integration automatically picks up scheduled meetings from your calendar and is ready even before the meeting starts. It automatically records, transcribes, generates notes by topics discussed, and analyzes your entire meeting to give you in-depth insights

Also when you combine Zoom with Rafiki and CRM you are automatically appraised on who spoke what, about what, for how long, and the exact trajectory of your deal. 

#4 Should provide handy tips as well as smart reporting

The tool you choose should regularly come up with handy tips to make your sales rep’s lives easier. It should be able to identify more valuable deals from your list, use AI algorithms to analyze your actions and find more effective ways to close those deals.

Also, make sure that the tool always has access to current data. It should also have a collective summary of the activities that each user engages in. With the help of this data, your personal sales assistant should come up with daily reports on how the day ended along with a preview of upcoming meetings. 

Rafiki can automatically generate powerful reports by capturing useful metrics with plenty of actionable insights. For instance, Rafiki can identify and display negative sounding comments or anxious responses in the call using the ‘patience’ factor. Similarly, it captures your rep’s interaction levels, talk-listen ratio, and so on. Using these metrics,  you can correct yourself in the subsequent calls.

#5 All your information in one place

The tool you choose should keep you on top of any changes to your deals and accounts with the help of instant notifications. This will greatly improve transparency when you are collaborating with your team as everyone is on the same page. 

Also, you should be able to review changes in your dashboard to stay on track with your goals. Insightful graphs and metrics should be accessible to you to understand the reasons(if) you’re losing deals.

#6 Should offer quality transcripts and getting them analyzed based on topics

Ask someone who spends a lot of time on telephonic meetings (Like your sales reps), most of them would confess transcribing the entire meeting to meaningful notes is one of the most laborious tasks in the world. This is where your personal AI sales assistant should help. It should record the meeting, transcribe it, and then getting it analyzed based on different topics. 

For instance, Rafiki automatically sees topics, learns your rep’s vocabulary, and proactively suggests insights with evidence to become your trusted personalized analyst.

Rafiki: The best personal AI sales assistant currently available

By understanding the needs of sales teams around the world, Rafiki is able to create the best solutions that can integrate into a multitude of existing workflows and tools to allow for minimal to no downtime in your sales efforts. 

Achieving competitive sales and revenue targets doesn’t have to mean putting your sales team on the grindstone. Using personal AI assistants can make their lives a lot easier by automating menial tasks and reducing their mental workload, allowing them to focus on the work that really matters. 

If you’re interested in taking Rafiki’s personal AI sales assistant for a spin, book a demo with us.

The 9 Types of Business Meetings and Why They Matter

Let us begin by quickly defining a business meeting - 

“It is simply a gathering of two or more people with an objective of making decisions or discussing company goals and operations.”

It doesn’t matter whether your organization has 5 employees or 5000 employees; a business meeting is an unavoidable step in getting things done in an organized fashion. 

In the past, most of the business meetings were conducted in person in the office. But with the advent of the pandemic, meetings completely shifted to a virtual model and were conducted via conference tools such as Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams. 

There are a wide variety of meetings, and each of them has a very specific objective. In this post, we will look at the nine most popular types of meetings and why they matter to a business - 

Decision-Making Meetings

Making the right decision is crucial to any organization's success. To help an organization with that, decision-making meetings come in handy. In such meetings, the entire team would be present. The main objective of this meeting is to discuss the course of action for a project or to make some important decisions after consulting with the team.

Team members would typically offer their views on a topic, and the team leader would take in all the available information and evaluate all the data before finalizing the decision. Sometimes the problems will be more detailed and would need additional expertise. The team leaders would then invite subject matter experts who can help them fill the blind spots.

The meeting will ideally end with the leader choosing a decision and clearly explaining the path that they are going to take to finish the project. They will also clarify who handles what activities in detail. A good decision-making meeting is characterized by teams feeling confident about the chosen decision.

Scrum Meeting

This is a daily scheduled meeting that is often run by engineering teams. However, these days, the most operationally active teams run these meetings. These meetings are usually held daily or once a week. Like decision-making meetings, all the team members are usually present in this type of meeting. Every team member will share their respective progress in a project that they have been assigned to. They will then go on to explain whether they have accomplished all their sprint goals as per plan or not. Sprint is a short time frame within the larger project timeline and scrum meetings keep the focus to the sprint.

Types of Meeting

Any Scrum Meeting is characterized by the below three questions - 

  1. What did you do yesterday?
  2. What will you do today?
  3. Are there any impediments in your way?

All Scrum meetings are governed by 5 core principles. They are - 

  1. Complete control over the empirical process - Transparency, evaluation, and adaptation are the core ideologies of Scrum meetings.
  2. Self-organization -  increases the independence of the entire team, which also assists in assessing their performance during these meetings.
  3. Collaboration - Awareness, and clarity in team members become critical during every meeting.
  4. Value-based prioritization - Every task is prioritized assigned based on the value to the end-users in these meetings.
  5. Timeboxing - Every meeting is limited to a maximum of 15 minutes (in the case of a daily meeting).

If the team members are lagging behind in a goal or haven't shown any significant improvement on the project, there will be a discussion on what is lagging behind, the reason for it, and the next steps to sort the things out. The managers would provide whatever resources necessary to accomplish the goals on time. Such measures would help everyone perform their job to their best potential. These meetings are headed by a project manager.

Problem Solving Meeting

As an organization, you would run into various problems, and these meetings will help you to overcome those. In these meetings, usually, only the teams that are facing any problems would participate and never all the teams. However, if there are people in the other teams who can offer a solution to the problems, then they are invited.

Usually, these meetings are led by a person with diverse knowledge, background, skills, and opinions. There might also be people who are new to the team but are experts, hence will have the capability to lead such meetings.

The meeting starts with reviewing the situation like - 

  • What resources do we have to solve the problem?
  • What led to the start of the problem?
  • What is the current status of the problem?

The participants then analyze the options to solve the problem and formulate an action plan. These meetings help companies to solve pressing problems and build a commitment to bring the desired results.

One-on-One

As the name implies, this meeting takes place between two individuals. The relationship between these two people plays a major role in the importance of this meeting. One-on-one meetings usually feel like a normal conversation, but they help to fulfill a specific purpose.

Some variations of one-on-one include -

  • Meeting between a worker and a leader where the leader will try to understand the worker's problems and help solve them.
  • HR and Employee meetings related to appraisal, skill development, and mentorship programs. These meetings usually have a huge impact on employee satisfaction.
  • Meetings between two leads of different departments trying to build synergy amongst heir two teams 

Team building meeting

Having a strong team will always boost a company's growth. The company would work to its highest potential if all the members of the team build trust in each other and work together. Usually, every meeting has the potential to create everlasting bonds between team members. But having a dedicated team-building meeting would strengthen the bond even further by creating an enjoyable experience around them.

Team building meetings are usually fun, as they include a variety of games, group activities, and talent showcases. All these will help the participants to come out of their cocoons and build friendly relationships with the team. It also makes them feel valued.

Brainstorming meeting

This is an interesting kind of meeting. People’s designations are kept out of the room for these meetings; literally, anyone can pitch their idea. However, a central person (a randomly chosen person) runs this meeting and picks a premise like marketing activities, or design activities. This will be followed by people coming up with different ideas and how it benefits the premise in the best way. Companies usually run this meeting to solve a problem, or to improve their performance in a specific segment of work. 

However, such types of meetings are not without cons. For instance, most of these meetings can take time; it could be hours, or even days before a solution is reached. Since these meetings are open-ended, they can go on and on for hours, reducing the return on time invested by people. Hence, It is important that the meeting organizer timebox all these meetings.

Such meetings can also get very one-sided. People who speak more or louder can shoot down their colleagues’ ideas and might outvoice others even though their ideas might not be as great as their colleagues’.

Planning Meeting

Planning meetings can occur in various formats. Most of these meetings begin with the project owners laying down the plan. The people attending the meeting must know what the plan is and should try to learn as much as possible about the project before entering the meeting room. Once the plan is laid down, analyses of the present situation and what improvements can be done are discussed.

The relationships of the participants don't matter in these meetings as it is strictly kept professional. These meetings can be stopped at any time, and everyone can feel free to talk about their concerns around an idea. Also, since the plan is at its beginning stages, it can be dropped off anytime. The planning meeting usually ends with the acceptance or rejection of the plan.

Issue resolution meeting

This meeting’s primary agenda is to resolve issues between two parties. The meeting will also include a third party who acts as a mediator between the two. Sometimes, it can also take place without the mediator, where either one of the parties can lead the meeting.

In such meetings, the participants go through a list of issues/tickets and address them one by one. The mode of engagement can differ based on the situation. If there is a possibility of a heated situation, then the meeting should be held in a structured manner to make sure that proper order is maintained throughout the meeting.

Few examples of issue resolution meetings include contract negotiations, renewals, support team escalation, project delays, etc.

Info sharing meeting

Information about a project is shared in all types of meetings. However, dedicated info-sharing meetings educate the team in-depth about a topic. The training or the information is usually shared by the subject matter expert. The meetings are held in many forms like training, presentation, lecture, or a debate. It can also be a one-on-one session or an entire team training session.

The expert will try to keep the meeting light and build rapport with the audience. In the end, the team would benefit from learning various key information about the project which improves their efficiency and enables them to serve better in the project.

Tracking and Analyzing Meetings with Rafiki

Rafiki is an AI transcription system that records, transcribes, and tracks your meetings for you and your team to refer to for future meetings. Rafiki frees you and your team by taking away all the chores related to conducting a meeting. This includes syncing with the team’s calendar, conducting the meeting within the same platform, following all compliance rules, recording to the secure cloud (that is SOC2 compliant), and sharing key snippets from meeting with other stakeholders. More importantly, the notes taken by Rafiki are consistent in terms of the format. This makes it extremely easy for you to compare notes across meetings.

Tracking and Analyzing Meetings with Rafiki

The best part is Rafiki seamlessly integrates with Google Meet and Zoom, ensuring that you do not have to switch platforms to access meeting tools, recordings, notes, and insights - All for under  $17/month paid annually.